2004: New and Continuing Work in Brief
New Project Puts Sustainablility into Practice in
+ Institute Takes Soft Path Approach to the Streets
+ PI Advocates for National Water Commission
+ Advocates, Communities, Agencies Join to Fight
+ New Network Aims to Demistify International Standards
+ Security Work Returns to Water and Conflict
+ New Study Attacks Pesticide Problem
a follow up to last month’s Rewind
2003 Memo, we present our Projects 2004 memo,
which looks at our planned and ongoing projects
for 2004 and how they relate to the larger trends
shaping issues of development, environment, and
Water Management in Practice: How can an entire
region live within its means? When it comes to water,
the Pacific Institute aims to find out with a major,
new initiative to put sustainable approaches into
place at the regional level.
benefits? A stronger economy, a healthier environment,
and significant cost savings. The project, Sustainable
Water Management in Practice (SWMP), will focus,
at first, on the Silicon Valley region with plans
to expand to at least two other regions. SWMP will
analyze current water use and then work with communities,
businesses, and government agencies to find cost-effective,
practical solutions. Ultimately, we hope to create
a template that cities, towns, and regions around
the globe can use to make sustainable water management
SWMP concept paper is online.
Path for Water: On the heels of the successful
release of "Waste Not, Want Not," the
Pacific Institute is continuing to advocate for
the benefits of a "soft path" approach
to providing water. According to the soft path,
building new infrastructure — aqueducts, reservoirs,
dams, and the like — is appropriate, but only after
cost-effective efficiency solutions have been tried.
And, as our research shows, too often water agencies
and water users underestimate how much water can
be saved through efficiency.
Not, Want Not" finds, for example, that California
can save 1/3 of its current urban water use through
the more widespread use of currently available approaches.
And if a relatively efficient state like California
can do that much better, than many other states
(and nations) can make easy progress.
Not, Want Not" is available online for download
and purchase from our website.
Water Commission: We hope to bring this message
of efficiency to the attention of elected officials
across the United States with our proposal for a
National Water Commission. Water policy in the United
States is uncoordinated and usually focused on increasing
supply no matter what the cost. But with climate
change, growing populations, and over-pumping all
threatening our supply of clean water, business
as usual won’t work. Our leadership on international
water issues is likewise lacking. A National Water
Commission will cost little and yield many benefits
both here and abroad.
proposal to create a National Water Commission is
Pollution and Environmental Justice: Environmentalists,
health advocates, and community leaders all agree
that diesel pollution is a serious threat to human
health and well-being. New research shows that diesel
pollution is far more toxic than car exhaust and
confirms that diesel soot causes cancer, and triggers
or worsens asthma.
recent report by the Pacific Institute, "Clearing
the Air," finds that residents of West Oakland
are being exposed to far more than their share of
toxic air pollution. Residents of neighborhoods
with heavy truck traffic across the nation face
a similar threat. Community groups and environmental
advocates are now being joined by health organizations
like the American Lung Associate and government
agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency
in their fight against diesel pollution. With all
this in mind, the Pacific Institute is stepping
up its work to help West Oakland, and other communities,
reduce toxic air pollution.
on our work on diesel pollution is available online.
NGO Network on ISO: International standards
are growing in importance, but major standards-setting
bodies like the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) are dominated by large corporations. Much
like the controversy over the World Trade Organization,
environmental and social groups risk being unable
to influence the development of these critical global
standards unless they find a seat at the table and
The Pacific Institute has long been involved in
ensuring that ISO, and other standards-setting bodies,
protect the public interest and the environment.
This year we are stepping up our efforts through
the International NGO Network on ISO (INNI). Begun
in 2002, INNI provides timely information on the
activities of ISO to participating organizations
so that they can activate their members, provide
guidance to decision-makers, and shape public opinion.
While its primary audience remains NGOs, the INNI
is now going public with its website and email list.
join or learn more, contact inni @ pacinst.org.
Information on the International NGO Network on
ISO is available on the INNI website.
and Security: In conjunction with Oregon State
University and The Carnegie Corporation of New York,
the Pacific Institute will hold a series of meetings
in 2004 to reduce the risk of conflict over water
June, the group will cosponsor meetings on the San
Juan and Lempa River basins in Central America.
That same month, we will bring funders and researchers
together to improve the effectiveness of efforts
to defuse resource-related conflict. In October,
as part of the 2nd Israeli-Palestinian Conference
on Water, the Institute will cosponsor "The
Spirit and Science of Water: Sharing Across Boundaries,"
to explore how to move from conflict to cooperation
in water negotiations.
Oregon State, and the Pacific Institute will also
work on an expanded and reorganized Water Conflict
Chronology, and a Water and Conflict Bibliography,
which will both be available as a searchable databases.
Our current Water Conflict Chronology is available
on our World
Agriculture: Building on the successful release
of "Healthy, Fair, and Profitable," which
mapped a path to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides
in agriculture, the Pacific Institute is working
on a follow-up report that looks at how we can accelerate
the transition to low-pesticide farming practices.
Sustainable agriculture benefits the environment,
workers, consumers, and the farm economy.
Fair, and Profitable" is available online.
Water and Sustainability [Washington, DC], Peter
H. Gleick gave the plenary talk on Water and Sustainability
at the National Conference on Science, Policy, and
Salton Sea [San Diego, CA], Michael Cohen participated
in the Salton Sea Science Office’s workshop on shallow
Colorado River delta [Yuma, AZ], Michael Cohen met
with IBWC staff to discuss the Colorado River Boundary
1/22/04, Environmental Justice [Oakland, CA], Catalina
Garzon and Jacki Kohleriter helped facilitate the
first meeting of the California Environmental Health
Tracking Project’s Alameda Pilot Project, which
will examine asthma, birth outcome rates, and the
exposure of at-risk populations to traffic pollution.
The input from meeting participants will be used
to develop public outreach materials and a GIS interface
that can be used for education, planning, outreach,
and action around these issues.
Salton Sea [Sacramento, CA], Michael Cohen met with
other members of the Salton Sea Coalition to assess
restoration planning and to plan future outreach
Water Efficiency [Austin, TX], Dana Haasz gave a
presentation on "Urban Water Use in California:
How much Water Do We Really Need?" at the 2004
Water Sources Conference and Exposition.
Colorado River delta [Yuma, AZ], Michael Cohen will
participate in IBWC’s biologists’ meeting and a
stakeholder meeting, on the proposed Colorado River
Boundary Channelization Project.
Colorado River delta [Mexicali, Baja CA], Michael
Cohen will participate as an NGO representative
on the IBWC Colorado River Delta Advisory Committee.